Maggie Kimberl

Gear up for The Bourbon Women SIPosium and Not Your Pink Drink Contest

Every year for the last six years, The Bourbon Women have gathered at a conference called the ‘SIPosium’ where there have been seminars, day trips, cocktails, and more. One of the signature events leading up to the SIPosium is the ‘Not Your Pink Drink’ contest, in which professional mixologists and home bartenders alike are challenged to design a cocktail with bourbon that cannot be pink.

Susan Reigler With 2017 Not Your Pink Drink Winner Healther Wibbels

“We began Not Your Pink Drink years ago — I believe we were the first female cocktail contest centered around bourbon — to encourage restaurants and bars to not assume that when a woman steps up to a bar, she wants a pink, sweet and fruity-light drink,” says Peggy Noe Stevens, Bourbon Women Founder and Chair Emeritus. “Female consumers, when drinking a bourbon cocktail, actually like to taste their bourbon in the cocktail! We all love it neat or on the rocks, but there are outstanding mixologists and home entertainers, as I like to call them, that love to experiment with cocktails and we want them to test the female palate through the NYPD contest to see what women really gravitate towards.”

Applications are open for the Not your Pink Drink competition now thru July 22nd, and judging will take place at the live cocktail competition, the Not Your Pink Drink Challenge, August 12. Jim Beam is sponsoring the competition, and the basic rules are as follows (additional rules on the entry form): Entries must use a Jim Beam product, contain no more than three ingredients in addition to the bourbon, and the finished drink cannot be pink.

Winners will be awarded in two categories: the Joy Perrine Bartender Award for professionals and the Ava Gardner Award for home bartenders. Each winner will receive $250 cash and the winning cocktails will be featured at the Bourbon Women SIPosium culinary luncheon. 

The Bourbon Women SIPosium will take place August 22-25 at the Seelbach Hilton in Louisville, Kentucky. 

“The annual SIPosium attracts the heavy hitters of the bourbon industry, from distillers to authors, retailers to bartenders, but the big names aren’t what pulls women back year after year,” says Bourbon Women President Kerri Richardson. “SIPosium’s real magic is connecting hundreds of professional women, creating relationships and memorable experiences through a common love of bourbon.”

“When you are a woman who loves bourbon, you get used to being outnumbered at the bar, overlooked in the liquor store, or even dismissed at the restaurant,” Richardson continues. “Bourbon-drinking women don’t need to be told how to take their whiskey. So consider what an absolute joy it is to be around hundreds of professional, smart women from around the country who love bourbon and will never ask you, ‘Are you sure you didn’t want a wine spritzer?’”

“The SIPosium upends the traditional approach to bourbon tasting and education events,” says Richardson. “Instead of saying, ‘you should try this,’ we tend to ask, ‘what do you like to drink?’ Women who attend SIPosium already know they like bourbon, and they probably already know what brands they like and how they prefer to drink them. We’re here to enhance their bourbon experience, not dictate why they ‘should’ like something else. It sounds simple, but it is a liberating change in how women are generally approached and marketed to about bourbon.”

Entries for the Not Your Pink Drink Competition will be accepted thru July 22. Tickets for both events are on sale now — Not Your Pink Drink Challenge and The Bourbon Women SIPosium.

Photos Courtesy of The Bourbon Women

Maggie Kimberl is a spirits journalist focusing on whiskey culture in the United States, though she considers herself to be 'geographically blessed' to live in the epicenter of the bourbon world, Louisville, Kentucky. When she's not covering the bourbon beat you can find her browsing through vintage vinyl with her kids or tending to her homegrown tomatoes. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and check out her blog.

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